Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.


Antone Gatterman

ANTONE GATTERMAN. The experiences and achievements of Antone Gatterman as a Western Kansas pioneer have something out of the ordinary in them. Perhaps few of the early settlers lacked diligence or average business capacity, yet on the whole they seemed to have seldom risen above their circumstances and by indomitable will and energy outmastered the forces of climate and other troubles. It was this faculty of not only accommodating himself to but making himself master of such conditions as he found in Western Kansas that has been distinctive of Antone Gatterman. The splendid possessions he now has in Edwards and other counties attest full well the power and resources of his character.

His combination of intellectual vigor with physical virility is perhaps a tribute to his Fatherland and his race. Mr. Gatterman was born at Kriesdorf, circle of Jungbunzlau, Bohemia, May 20, 1858. His native home was within three miles of the German line and his ancestors were all Germans and he learned that language. His father, Joseph Gatterman, was born in Bohemia and married Marian Schiller. Joseph Gatterman was a farmer. Seeking a newer country both for the benefit of himself and his children, he took his family out of Bohemia, embarked on a sailing vessel at Bremen, Germany, and after some weeks led his little flock through Castle Garden in New York. Antone was then thirteen years of age. The family located in Chariton County, Missouri, where Joseph and his wife spent their remaining years as farmers. Many of the name are still found in that section of Missouri. The children were: Joseph, of Missouri; Antone; Frank, of Missouri; Johanna; Lizzie, wife of Joseph Dow, of Missouri; and Allie, who married Antone Stanitsky, of Missouri.

Antone Gatterman after coming to America attended a country school in Chariton County, Missouri, three winters, and from that instruction acquired a working command of the English language. When it came time for him to leave home and make his own way in the world he went to Adams County, Illinois, in the vicinity of Quincy, and put in eight years of steady employment as a farm laborer. He was seventeen years old when he went there, and his possessions consisted of a dollar and thirty-five cents and a "red handkerchief full of clothes." At first his wages were only eleven dollars a month. At the end of eight years he was getting twenty dollars a month. Any one who knows what the farm hands of thirty or forty years ago were expected to do will agree that Mr. Getterman was a laborer worthy of his reward. He lived simply and with a view to the future. For all that it seems remarkable that he was able to save twelve hundred dollars from his wages of eight years. This capital, a considerable sum for that time, in addition to a buggy and driving mare, he brought with him to Kansas. He made this trip overland in seven or eight days. He traveled about over Kansas looking for a proper location, and finally selected Edwards County and the Felsburg locality.

His arrival here was in the spring of 1886. He located in Franklin Township and paid a thousand dollars of his hard earned money for a quarter section of deeded land in section 34, township 25, range 17. So far as improvements were concerned the land was in its virgin condition. He was a bachelor and remained so during the early years of his Kansas experience. His first shelter was a sod house, containing one room, with a dirt floor and a board roof. His pioneer team and the one that had to do all his work for several years was a yoke of cattle. These drew the plow through the heavy sod, also pulled the header barge, and at other times ambled along the highways carrying his produce to market.

The years of the late '80s were not by any means favorable to Kansas agriculture. Most of the crops burned up under the continued sun and wind. Many of his neighbors pulled up and left the locality for good, In spite of this Antone Gatterman made a living from his quarter section and actually saved some money besides. After about three years his "soddy" was succeeded by a frame house of two rooms.

About that time he decided to explore the west further and judge for himself whether a place could be found where he could do better with the same capital. For a year, therefore, he traveled through Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming and came back to Kansas determined to hold on to his Kansas land, which looked better to him than anything he had encountered elsewhere and much better than when he left it. However, for a year or more he rented his farm and during that time went to Colorado and worked in the mines of Georgetown, Telluride and Rico. Every dollar he saved from this work as a miner he brought back and invested in more Kansas land.

As a farmer his first important profits were made in cattle and hogs. Contrary to the usual experience, corn proved a fairly safe crop with him, and he fed his corn to the stock, raised and fattened them on his land and sold them at good prices to the local markets. As a land buyer he paid $1,000 for one quarter, and continued buying until the price had risen to $4,000 a quarter section. As a result of his growing prosperity and his continued faith in land as a medium of investment Mr. Gatterman accumulated sixteen quarter sections, including 823 acres at Felsburg, 960 acres in Gray County, 640 acres in Haskell County and 160 acres in Prowers County, Colorado. Of all this he has brought under cultivation over 2,400 acres. Three distinct sets of improvements have been built. His home residence on the Felsburg farm is as fine a home as can be found in the entire County of Edwards, and the barn and other improvements are equal in character and solidity. It should be noted that this home place at Felsburg includes the site of the original home upon which he built his little sod house. The sods of that humble structure have long since disintegrated and have merged with the ground.

Besides his extensive holdings of land Mr. Gatterman is president of the FeIsburg State Bank and president of the Equity Farmers Elevator of Felsburg. In other ways he has made himself a factor in the public life of his township and district. He has served as justice of the peace, as trustee, as member of the school board of district No. 17, and as treasurer of the United Brethren Church at Felsburg. Politically he votes for the welfare of his locality and state and nation, having strong republican leanings. He is so a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Anti-Horse Thief Association.

In September, 1916, Mr. Gatterman established his residence in Kinsley, where he owns one of the best homes of the town. He was married at Osceola, Nebraska, March 15, 1894, to Effie Hefflebower. She is a daughter of Edward and Sallie (Calvin) Hefflebower. Her father went to Nebraska from Pennsylvania and was a farmer in that state. Mrs. Gatterman was one of a family of five daughters and one son. Mr. and Mrs. Gatterman have four children: Leory finished his education in the Lewis High School and the Hutchinson Business College and is now a farmer near Felsburg. Lorain is a student in the Kinsley High School. The two younger children are Iva and Ralph.


Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Volume 4 - Table of Contents

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